IPL vs Laser Hair Removal: Which One Is More Effective?

So many of us deal with unwanted body hair on a day to day basis. In recent years, finding methods of permanent hair removal has been at the forefront of dermatological processes. The regular days of shaving with a razor may just be behind us; in fact, there are so many different ways that people go about getting rid of their body hair.

Some pretty common ways that people treat their unwanted hair involve threading procedures, or even hot waxing to help trim down the amount of hair on their bodies. Unfortunately, so many of these methods have downsides, like skin irritation and redness, that aren’t totally attractive to everyone.

Additionally, methods like these don’t necessarily result in total removal of all unwanted hair, especially because body hair simply grows so quickly. However, permanent hair removal is not only an option, it’s an accessible way to get rid of that unwanted hair.

IPL and Laser Hair Removal

More permanent methods involve getting rid of hair by attacking it from the inside out, rather than just removing the hair that we can see. This means making sure that hair follicles are unable to produce more hair. IPL therapies and laser hair removal techniques are perfect for targeting the follicles and stopping hair growth in its tracks.

Both of these techniques can help you say goodbye to hair just about anywhere on your body. Looking to get rid of the hairs on your chin or upper lip? Ready to toss the razor and say hello to smoother legs, stomach, or back areas? Both IPL and laser hair removal treatments are great for areas such as these and more.

Additionally, one of the great plus sides to both laser and IPL therapies are that there are very few side effects that one might find with treatments such as waxing, regular shaving, or threading. On top of that, most people who undergo these treatments see significant reduction in the amount of unwanted hair on their body.

IPL Therapy

IPL stands for something called “intense pulsed light”. This treatment can be used to stop unwanted hair growth right at the root, but can also be used for other skin issues. Age spots, varicose veins, birthmarks, and even freckles can be effectively removed or lightened through use of this particular treatment.

This method of hair removal works great for bodily areas like the legs, underarms, bikini area, face, buttocks, chest, and more.

Laser Hair Removal Therapy

Laser hair removal therapy is another technique that helps work to stop hair growth at the root. By shrinking the size of the hair follicle, laser hair therapy effectively removes the opportunity for hair growth by between 60% and 80% per procedure.

This particular therapy uses a single beam of pure light to target the hair follicles based on their high-pigmentation. This means that, as with IPL therapy, the light used targets specific areas that have more pigmentation (or color) in them.

For this reason, individuals who have lighter skin and darker hair tend to see the best results from both of these therapies. If you’re someone who has darker skin or lighter hair in the areas that you’re looking to target, you might simply need more treatments for you to reach your hair removal goals.

An Overview Of Treatment

Each session of either laser hair removal therapy or IPL therapy follows a pretty standard set of events to ensure the maximum effect on the areas you’d most like to treat.

During your appointment, you will consult with your dermatologist or hair removal therapy provider about the areas that you’d like to have treated. Your medical care professional will likely go over your medical history with you – it’s important to note whether you have any particular health or skin concerns before these treatments. Remember, it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor before engaging in any potentially body (or in this case, specifically skin) altering treatments.

After consulting with your specialist, the areas you’d like treated will be thoroughly cleaned so that the laser or IPL machines can effectively reach the hair follicles. A certain type of gel will be applied – this gel typically has a cooling affect on the skin. After this, the laser beam (through laser therapy) or IPL light pulses will make contact with your skin. In order to protect your eyes, you’ll likely be wearing tinted glasses to make sure the beams and/or waves of light don’t affect your vision.

Something to note is that both of these processes are relatively pain free. Though you may feel a slight discomfort, your skin will not be burned or affect; only your hair will be.

Differences Between Laser Hair Removal and IPL Therapy

So when it comes to choosing your method of permanent hair removal, which one is right for you? Though laser hair removal and IPL therapy have several similarities, they also have some notable differences that you’ll want to consider when figuring out which method is right for you.

Again, it’s important to think about your skin and hair removal goals when considering either process. Which areas of the body are you most looking to work on? Is your hair particularly thick? Additionally, how many treatments are you willing to undergo? If you have darker skin or lighter hair, it’s likely that you may need more treatments in order to achieve your desired level of hair removal. If you have lighter skin or darker hair, you may not need to undergo as many levels of treatment. Additionally, skin and health concerns are important to consider before undergoing either treatment.

The similarities between IPL therapy and laser hair removal have mainly to do with the use of light machines. These two therapies come from the same concept. Of course, this doesn’t mean that they’re at all the same. In fact, you’ll find that the most notable difference is the type of light used to target your hair follicles.

The light difference is something that, depending on you and your unique body, might have different effects so far as the final treatment results. This is just another reason that it’s key to think about which parts of your body you want to focus on the most if thinking about and deciding between either treatment.

With IPL therapy, the machines used produce a certain kind of light that includes several wavelengths of color. This means that the wavelengths may differ in size – some of them may be longer, and others may be shorter. This kind of light is similar, though not necessarily the same, to the lights you might find in your everyday use at home, school, or work. This large range of light wavelengths means that some of the wavelengths won’t get as deep into the follicle, and may have more trouble shrinking the size of the follicle. This is particularly important to note if you’re someone who has darker skin or lighter hair. Because the absorption of this light may not be as effective, seeing as there are several different types of wavelength at play, those with darker skin or lighter hair may find difficulty with seeing the results that they want when using this therapy. If you are one of these individuals, you may therefore have to attend more IPL therapy sessions in order to effectively see your hair removal.

Laser hair removal is different in that the light used is, in fact, a laser. This means that instead of a wide range of light wavelengths, the laser hair removal machines produce on pure beam of light that is more intense than that used in IPL therapy. This concentrated light beam has only one wavelength; this particular wavelength can penetrate deeper into the skin and hair follicle, making it more effective when it comes to shrinking the follicle down. Of course, hair and skin color can affect this procedure too, as it also depends on the pigmentation of the hair and how well the hair absorbs the light.

So how does the follicle shrink? In both the IPL therapy and laser therapy treatments, the light emitted creates heat. This heat is used to burn the hair while the light shrinks the follicles down to a size that is less likely to produce viable hair. Another notable difference between the two types of therapy is that because laser therapy has a more intense beam of light, the heat emitted from laser machines is much higher than that of the heat emitted from IPL therapy machines.

Another notable difference between the two hair removal therapies is the cost of each of them. The heat, “pure light” beam, and sheer intensity of laser hair removal renders it the more costly of the two therapies, not only because of the cost of the machines used, but because the procedure tends to be more effective to a greater population than IPL therapy. Additionally, each establishment that offers laser or IPL therapy will have different requirements to practice; with laser therapy, an establishment will need to have higher requirements.

IPL Hair Removal Benefits

Because of it’s vast spectrum of light and wavelength, IPL treatments tend to have a greater coverage than that of laser hair removal. This is great if you’re looking to treat a larger area, such as your back and legs, because you’ll be able to do it faster and all at once. Though these treatments tend to be cheaper and may be less effective if you have darker skin or lighter hair, you’ll notice that with more appointments, you’ll have similar results to laser treatment.


Additionally, hair removal isn’t the only thing that IPL therapy can treat. In fact, wrinkles, sun spots, age spots, and freckles are skin concerns that can be treated with the wide spectrum of light used in this particular treatment.


If you’re looking for an at-home IPL hair removal treatment, the Braun 5001 IPL permanent hair remover is a great option.


Laser Hair Removal Benefits


The benefits of laser hair removal therapy lie in the fact that the single beam of “pure light” used during the treatment makes sure to get deep down to those potentially more hard to reach follicles. The effectiveness of this particular treatment is generally higher than that of the IPL therapy. Because of this, though the cost may be higher, you may need fewer treatments overall.

Additionally, laser hair removal may be more suitable for those with darker skin and lighter hair. While IPL therapy may work best for those who have easily noticeable hair, the laser hair removal therapy is best for a wider population because of how intense the light beams used are.

If you’re looking for an at-home laser hair removal treatment, the Tria 4x for Laser Hair Removal is another great option.

Side Effects Of Permanent Hair Removal Treatments

Though both IPL therapy and laser hair removal differ in their intensity and accessibility for some, the two have similar side effects. After undergoing a treatment, whether in a dermatologist or doctor’s office or in the comfort of your own home, you may experience a little bit of skin irritation. Swelling, itchiness, tenderness, or redness are just a few of the specific irritations that can occur. Of course, these side effects are easily treatable. Hydration is key; products that you might use to treat a sunburn, such as aloe, will be useful if you are experiencing any of the aforementioned side effects.

Something else to note is skin sensitivity. After using either IPL or laser therapy, you may notice some sunlight sensitivity – for this reason, it’s very important to make sure that you properly protect your skin against the sun. Additionally, make sure to stay away from itching your skin during the healing process, as doing so may lead to infection.

In Conclusion

Both IPL therapy and laser hair removal therapy are two cost-effective, viable options if you’re looking to remove unwanted hair from your body. Each of these different therapies has pros and cons to consider – and each of these pros and cons differ from person to person, depending on your skin type, skin goals, and hair removal goals.

Where IPL therapy is both highly cost-effective and can help affect a wide range of skin conditions, it’s not necessarily as specific as laser therapy in its intensity and range of success. With laser therapy, though it may work for a wider range of individuals, its primary use is hair removal, rather than a wider range of skin conditions. Both treatments have been shown to be effective in most individuals, and depending on your unique needs, may be a great way to help get rid of your body hair once and for all.

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